McGregor: Personnel Changes May Be Answer
By Steven Ross (NRL.com)
St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor says that the solution to his side's problematic attack may require personnel changes if points do not start piling up over the coming weeks.
The Dragons have scored a collective 40 points over the first five games, which is 10 fewer points than the 15th ranked Roosters who are yet to play in Round 5.
Saturday's 36-0 loss to North Queensland was halfback Benji Marshall's first game in three weeks but it could have easily been three years, such was the out-of-synch nature of their attack.
While some nice kicks behind the Cowboys' line forced multiple repeat sets, the goal-line execution and general ball security (56 per cent completion rate) were severely lacking.
"We've been tinkering with it for a while now, we've just got to take a bit of accountability and ownership of [our attack]," McGregor said after the game.
"It was Benji's first game in three weeks, but not scoring points is not good, so if it keeps going we will look at personnel."
Veteran Dragons winger Jason Nightingale has made a career from crossing the try line, and told NRL.com after the game that time is of the essence in fixing the points problem.
"I think it's obviously something we need to improve on and improve on quick because I think there are only so many games that you can win by a couple of points and eventually sides with as much attacking power as the Cowboys are going to rack up something against you," Nightingale said.
"We need to be a bit more focused on how we execute our plays.
"That's the main things and to 100 per cent know our role and trust in it.
"We always do have fundamentals in our attacking shape, but there is definitely an element of finding what works for us and once we do find that we will definitely stick to that.
"The onus has to be on us to be able to execute the plays that we train for.
"We watch a lot of video, and see that if things had been better executed and we did know our roles a bit better and run the right lines, the space would open up.
"We definitely have a lot of belief in what we're working towards, but it is a work in progress and we need to improve quickly if we are to start getting points on the board."